UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION BENJ. IDE WHEELER, PRESIDENT THOMAS FORSYTH HUNT, DEAN AND DIRECTOR H. E. VAN NORMAN, VlCE-DlR ECTOR AND DEAN University Farm School COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE BERKELEY CIRCULAR No. 207 February, 1919 NEUFCHATEL CHEESE By H. S. BAIRD Fig. 1. Molding Neufchatel Cheese. Neufchatel cheese is one of the common soft cheeses and when properly made is a very palatable food. Its production affords the person who has a small amount of surplus milk an outlet for his product, and its manufacture is practical on a large scale. Neufchatel cheese is not difficult to make when the proper method is carefully followed. It can be made either from goat's milk or cow's milk but goat's milk usually makes a smoother, closer-grained product. The whole milk is generally used and it should be sweet, testing not over 0.18 per cent acid. The milk may be either raw or pasteurized ; pasteurization is advis- able, since it will insure a better-keeping and more uniform cheese, as well as destroy disease-producing bacteria which may be present in the milk. If the milk is pasteurized it should be heated to a temperature of 140° to 145° F and held at that temperature for twenty-five minutes after which it should be cooled quickly to 72° F. Where the cheese is made on a small scale home-made pasteurizing equipment can be constructed. In case steam is available a barrel may be used for a water bath. The upper part of the barrel should be cut off, so as to make it of a convenient height for the person doing the work. The barrel should be piped with both steam and cold water so that both pasteurizing and cooling can be done in the same con- tainer. A hole should be made in the side of the barrel near the bottom to be used for a drain and one higher to be used for the overflow. The upper hole should be at a height and of such size as will prevent the water from overflowing into the can of milk. In case steam is not available a metal container should be used for the water bath so that it can be set on a stove for heating. Fig. 2. Apparatus for Making Neufchatel Cheese on a small scale. The milk is usually placed in five-gallon shotgun cans (see fig. 2). Even where Neufchatel cheese is made on a large scale the milk is placed in five- or ten-gallon cans in order to insure a Uniform tem- perature. After the milk has been pasteurized and cooled to 72° F the water bath should be tempered to the same degree. SETTING In making Neufchatel cheese "setting" refers to the addition of starter and rennet. Starter (good clabbered milk) should be added at the rate of 25 to 50 cubic centimeters* (about 1 to 2 ounces) per 100 pounds of milk. When making large quantities of milk into cheese a commercial lactic starter should be used. A commercial starter is one prepared in a special laboratory and contains a pure culture of the desired bacteria. These starters may be secured from the labora- tory or through the dairy supply houses. Directions for handling starters should be requested when securing the first culture. A 25- cubic centimeter pipette graduated to tenths, to be used for measuring * One teaspoon level full contains 3*4 cubic cer>Hmeters. the rennet and starter, will also be furnished by any dairy supply house. Renet is added at the rate of 2y 2 cubic centimeters per 100 pounds of milk.* Before adding it to the milk it is diluted with twenty times its volume of cold water. Care must be taken not to add too much rennet, as it will cause a coarse-grained, poor-quality cheese. The rennet and starter should be mixed thoroughly with the milk, the can covered and the milk allowed to stand in the water bath for fifteen to eighteen hours. DRAINING The curd is ready to drain when a thin layer of whey appears on top and at the sides and the acidity of the free whey tests from 0.3 to 0.5%. The curd, at this time, should be rather firm. A low acidity at the end of eighteen hours indicates too low temperature or insuffi- cient starter. If the acidity is too high it is probably caused by the opposite conditions. When the curd is in proper condition it should be poured into drain sacks, without cutting, using a separate cloth for each can of milk. Cloth used for draining sacks should have a mesh similar to that used for flour sacks. Ordinary cheese cloth is too coarse and will allow too much curd to escape. The sacks of curd should be hung in a cool place to drain, which usually takes about eight to ten hours. While draining, the curd should be rolled in the sacks and thoroughly mixed, occasionally, in order to prevent the cheese next to the cloth from drying. Failure to do this may cause a lumpy cheese. In some cases the curd may be sufficiently dry after draining but ordinarily it requires pressing to remove the excess whey. PRESSING A pressure from one or two bricks for each sack of curd is suffi- cient. The sacks of curd may be placed between two boards and the bricks placed on top, or it may be placed in a cheese hoop with a follower and bricks placed on top. The time required for pressing will depend upon the condition of the curd, ordinarily it requires about twelve to fourteen hours. SALTING After pressing, the curd is removed from the sacks and salted at the rate of two ounces per ten pounds of curd. After thoroughly mix- ing the salt with the curd it is run through a food grinder twice. The grinding gives it a fine, smooth grain. This cheese is usually eaten while fresh, although it may be cured for a month or six weeks. Good Neufchatel cheese should have a mild, clean flavor and a smooth, buttery texture and body. It should con- tain about 55 to 60 per cent moisture. A cheese which is too dry will usually be grainy and lumpy, while one containing too much moisture will be very soft. When marketing the cheese it is molded and wrapped in special forms or placed in special containers. One teaspoon level full contains 3% cubic centimeters. MOLDING Neufchatel cheese is commonly molded in a cylindrical form, 1% inches in diameter and 3% inches long, and wrapped in tinfoil lined with parchment paper. Very often the cheese is tamped in a small cylinder made of tin and having a diameter of 1% inches. After the cylinder is filled the cheese is forced out and cut in desired lengths. The apparatus shown in Fig. 2 is very convenient and will enable one to handle considerable cheese per hour. It consists of a food grinder constructed for attaching a sausage stuffer. Since the sausage stuffer is smaller in diameter than is desired for the cheese, it is cut off back to the tapering part and a tube of the desired diameter soldered on. A glass or metal surface should then be built so that it will fit under the tube when the grinder is attached to a table. The cheese is forced through the grinder and tube on to the stand where it is cut with a wire knife into the desired lengths. The knife consists of a handle on which are attached two wires. The distance between the wires is the desired length of the cheese. The cheese is cut with this knife as fast as it is forced on to the glass or metal surface, and is then ready to be wrapped and boxed. This cheese is also marketed in paraffined paper boxes, although this is not a common package. Any package which is used should be practically air-tight and one which will not absorb water from the cheese. An air-tight package prevents shrinkage and keeps the cheese in good condition for a longer period than one which is not air-tight. After it is manufactured the cheese should be kept in a refrigerator until sold. The yield of Neufchatel cheese will depend upon the kind of milk used and upon the butterfat test. From ordinary cows' milk testing 3.6 to 4 per cent fat, the yield will be about 12 to 14 pounds per hundred pounds of milk. Neufchatel may be used as a vehicle for various flavors such as pimento, nuts, chili, etc. These should be added in sufficient amounts to give the desired flavors. SUMMARY Neufchatel is a type of soft cheese and its production affords an outlet for surplus milk. The cheese is a very palatable and highly nutritious food. This cheese is made either from cow's or goat's milk, but goat's milk is preferable. The apparatus for making Neufchatel cheese on a small scale is inexpensive. Neufchatel can be made from either raw or pasteurized milk, although pasteurization insures a better cheese. Steps in the process consist of: adding the " starter" and rennet, draining, pressing the curd, salting and molding the cheese. Neufchatel cheese may be used with pimento, nut, chili, and various other flavors.